Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Loaded with fresh veggies, salami and tossed in a zesty homemade dressing! This easy to make salad is the perfect side dish for any occasion!

An easy pasta salad recipe made with rotini pasta noodles, salami, grape tomatoes, black olives, red onion, parmesan cheese and an easy homemade dressing!

We all know that when it comes to summer barbecues, it’s all about the side dishes right?! (Or at least it’s that way in my house. 😉 ) And no barbecue would be complete without some good old pasta salad! I’ll be completely honest with you though, I used to make pasta salad from a boxed mix because I always thought it would be way too difficult to make from scratch… But holy cow was I wrong! After discovering this recipe a few years ago, it’s quickly become my go-to and is always an instant crowd-pleaser! So I am so excited to finally get this easy Italian pasta salad recipe up on the blog so all of you can enjoy it too!

Fresh ingredients, a homemade red wine vinaigrette and it takes no time at all to make! This easy pasta salad is about to become to favorite go-to side dish!

Ingredients

One of the best things about pasta salad is that it’s so versatile and can be made with almost any ingredient you happen to have on hand. Here are the ingredients I used for this Italian pasta salad:

  • Tri-colored rotini pasta: I love using tri-colored pasta just because I think it makes the whole dish look really pretty when it’s being served. You can definitely use regular rotini pasta or any other type of “short” pasta instead if you prefer too.
  • Hard salami: I also prefer using dry hard salami that you have to cut yourself instead of the pre-sliced salami that’s found in most deli’s. I found that this way I can cut the salami into larger cubes so that it stands up better to the rest of the ingredients and there’s also more of a variety to choose from too. When I’ve used the pre-sliced salami in the past, it seemed to become over powered by the pasta and other ingredients and wasn’t quite as hearty. (For this recipe I used both genoa salami and hot Italian salami.)
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Red onion
  • Parmesan cheese: I used shredded parmesan for this recipe but grated parm would also work just as well. You can even try using Asiago or Romano cheese too! (These taste pretty similar to parmesan cheese but have a slightly “sharper” taste to them.)
This lightened up pasta salad dish is just what you need this summer! It's so refreshing and has so much flavor, it's sure to be a crowd pleaser!

How to make an easy Italian dressing

I’ve been making my own salad dressings for a while now and this one is definitely up near the top. It’s vinegary, zesty and ties all the pasta salad ingredients together perfectly! (That being said, you can also use your favorite Italian store bought dressing instead too.). Here’s how to make my favorite vinaigrette dressing below:

  • 1/2 cup extra light tasting olive oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake them up. Pour the dressing over your salad, toss and serve.

This dressing can be made a few days in advance. (Just make sure to store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.) It should last for about 1 1/2 weeks in the fridge.

This incredibly easy pasta salad is light, tangy and loaded with fresh ingredients and Italian herbs! It's the perfect side dish to serve at your next barbecue!

What do I serve with easy Italian pasta salad?

Pasta salad is always a great side dish for a potluck, picnic, family barbecue, or any other type of friendly get-together. My family usually serves it with bbq chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled meats. We also love serving this salad on it’s own as a full meal too! For this I’ll usually serve it over a bed of lettuce/spinach with some extra dressing and even add a little garlic bread on the side too! 😉

Now who’s ready for all those summer barbecues?! 🙂

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Easy Italian Pasta Salad

This is the best (and easiest) pasta salad recipe you will ever find! It's loaded with fresh veggies, salami and all tossed in a tangy red wine vinaigrette!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Pot Luck
Keyword: dressing, easy, homemade, Italian, pasta salad, vinaigrette
Servings: 6 people
Author: Caitlin Monson

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 box tri-color rotini pasta
  • 1 9oz package of hard salami, cut into cubes*
  • grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 6oz can sliced black olives
  • ½ red onion, cut into thin slices
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup extra light tasting olive oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

To make the dressing:

  • In a small bowl or jar, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and set it aside.

To make the salad:

  • Cook the pasta according to it's package. Set it aside to cool. (This can be done a day in advance if needed.)
  • Once the pasta has cooled, pour it into a bowl and add the salami, tomatoes, olives, red onion and parmesan cheese. Pour your dressing over the top and toss the salad until it;s fully coated.
  • Store the salad in the fridge until your ready to eat. (This pasta salad is best served cold.)

Notes

*I used Genoa salami and hot Italian salami for this recipe.
I always use extra light tasting olive oil for most of my salad dressings but extra virgin olive oil will also work too.
This salad should last for 1 week if stored in the fridge. 

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